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tv   Book TV After Words  CSPAN  February 20, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EST

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>> host: perhaps that's more over the next 10 years. i think we can talk about that a
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little bit over the next hour, and some of your very and counterintuitive use i think about what direction you see the world headed and in particular the u.s. encounters with that world, whether it's on israel over china, or russia or i think you have some interesting things to say that are not exactly what you're going to pick up from reading the papers every day. so let's go ahead and jump right in to that conversation. the next 10 years, what are the three most surprising takeaways that you are offering people in this book? >> guest: i think first that the war on terror has been overdone. now that terrorism is not a profound danger but as a monochromatic structure of foreign policy. it simply is unsustainable. there are too many other things happening in the world. the second thing i suppose that china has profound economic
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problems at this point. it's grown magnificently and will continue to grow but it's going to go through adjustments there i suppose the most important thing i'm arguing is the next 10 years is really about the relationship between what i call empire and republic, between the vast global power of the united states, the difficulty in managing that and retaining republican forms of government. eisenhower spoke about the military-industrial complex. i'm going beyond that. i'm saying that the requirements of managing an international system which we are the only global power, with the institutions that we have, the complexity of our intelligence organizations, create a situation where no one has a clear idea what everyone is doing. aside from creating unnecessary chaos in the world, it creates real challenges for the
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republic. so i would say those three things would be the most counterintuitive trend to the word balancing i think is a bar that appears a lot in the course of the book. what you're talking about in many different areas of the world really is this question of what course is the u.s. going to chart. are we willing to adopt for lack of better word a more realistic approach to some of these challenges rather than the direct intervention that we've undertaken our last decade. you point out in a state has been or exactly when or% of the time of 21st century as opposed to the very, very bloody conflicts of the 20th century which amounted to i believe you said 17% of the time to so are we going to find a way to back out of these wars? >> guest: we're going to have to find what to back out of these wars but have responsibly
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for the area. i save in the book about the power is foreign policy with the bill of rights, domestic policy. it is the founding principal of the empire. i'm not going to compare the tranny to these but germany, nazi germany and napoleon tried to rule by main force. it doesn't work very well. the romans and the british, the persians ruled sadly and indirectly, and by managing various players and controlling them and bringing them to the point where you wanted them. >> host: subtlety up to now has not been a hallmark of american diplomacy. >> guest: we are a very young country and it's only been 20 years since we have been a global power. i remember december 31, 1991, as the breaking point in history. first, it was the first moment in 500 years there was no european global power. and second it was the moment
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that united states quite by surprise, i think was done that happen, stood alone. it takes time to build institutions. it takes time to bring political culture. it's not surprising that the first 10 years, history, then sadly 9/11 happened. it was all about the long war that would never end, the islamic world. this is the unintended empire. they didn't expect to be this enormously powerful position. it doesn't know how to manage it. this is a decade, the third decade we're in that it must come to terms with the incredible strength, not only creating international system, but also within domestic system. >> host: i am struck by your arguing about the need for a new diplomacy and new institution to go along with it that will be
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the agents, the sort of rebalancing. there's not a clear sense that we are to dictate into a project of building post-cold war institutions. if anything that project keeps us on hold or have perhaps done in the wrong direction by the reframing of american foreign policy as a global war on terror over the last decade. >> guest: indeed i think that has to be adjusted but let's remember the british has been building their empire. the germans got their heads handed to them by the germans. it's not uncommon for a great in real systems as they emerge first to be totally unaware that the art and aerial system. and second, to suffered serious reverses. we americans, like others, tend to be operatic. as soon as we encounter a serious problem we declare that
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we are failures. this is a process we're going through. the first of the process is admitting what we are. for the united states admitting we're an empire is extraordinary difficult. we are the first great entity of imperial project. we have been warned to avoid foreign entanglements. we have as recently as world war ii argued that europe is not our business. and for a larger number of people feel that we should disengage. >> host: that something that hasn't gone away. that's not a historical artifact. that's going to be an increasingly flied debate over the next two years. >> guest: but debate is meaningless. the united states it's one of a prisoner of world economy. how do you disengage from the rest of the world with everything you do, unintended or intended has devastating potential or for some region of
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the world. large number of people's either celebrate or cry. this is the problem. our institution is not really aware of the problems we cause at the decisions we make. the president's office is not always aware of what everyone is doing. and the public is unaware of how dependent they are of these relationships for their own well being. so there is a lack of awareness both in our institutions and our political culture of the necessity of these relationships but we would like to think we would have the benefits of all of the nasty responsibility will go away. >> host: that's the dialog you see taking place between the u.s. and china, which used to say china is probably running through the end of its course of making the art that we are simply a developing country.
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we can't afford to bear the burdens of international leadership that the united states has been paying. the flipside is china wants to be recognized as the second largest economy in the world growing towards being at some point in the next couple of decades the largest economy in the world. at some point those conversations are going to meet, and the question of who pays the bill for global leadership and what is required in order to sustain that is going to come up. i want to backup, december 31, 1990 what do you call the breakpoint in history, the class of the soviet union is what happened on that day. and the birth of the post-soviet era, not only an american foreign policy but in terms of literally rewriting the world as we know. two decades later we're going to mark the anniversary this year. things have necessarily turned out as some of the optimists would have had them. we have not seen a tidal wave of democracy and freedom wash across central asia, and the
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caucasus and russia itself is quite the contrary. in many ways we've seen a resurgence of nationalism. we've seen new conflicts break out. we have seen tempered expectations when it comes to what kind of political economic and social system it's going to be existing across the former soviet union. i want to walk through your map of the world after the collapse of the soviet union. you have user very controversial, that are making some unexpected or perhaps predictions that some of our readers will not necessarily know what to make up. russia itself, tell me where you see russia heading in the next decade. >> guest: russia is russia. it is not a copy of the jfk school. russia for 200 years has had at its center security system.
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around the security system, the states grow. around the state, relationships throughout the country. they were market relationships and other relationships. russia is not the best days and will never resemble the united states for geographic reasons and other reasons. the russian empire and the soviet union were not accidental. it bound together economically, politically regions that had the mutual dependence. the vision of the liberals in russia and the united states was that following the fall of the soviet union they were regarding themselves towards europe and the united states. they fail to understand that these countries could not compete in any reasonable time frame in europe. the more dependent they came on here, the weaker they became. and also forgot that russia is that you political entity. it's experience, some terrible wars in its history.
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and it is externally cautious about expansion of things like nato. in regards to nader at a military alliance. we regarded as a club of nice people. this very mismatch about what it is. the united states moved into the baltics and nato. as the orange revolution, the ukraine took off and the united states became very influential in central asia, the russian saw a cycle passion a second encirclement taking place. putin from the kgb saw a second encirclement. the russians also flipped the economy. they stop trying to do to become great industrial force. they became exporters of primary commodities. not only natural gas but -- >> host: it has become the. anyways their economy has been based on not even the soviet countries.
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>> guest: so rather than continuing -- >> host: they saw the collapse of their industrial base. >> guest: they saw the collapse and i think putin delivers that we're not going to try to reinvest the whole thing. we will look at gas problems, but also grain exports, finite, as something that we can do now that builds dependencies on other countries that will continue to buy it, create political advantages for us. warehouse under brezhnev the strategy was take these enterprises, industrialized enterprises and continue investing in them. putin made a fundamental change. there are two institutions emerged in russia. in the first part of the 21st century. the first was a divide and the second was gas problem. these two institutions played off against each other to reassert russian power. and also to increase their
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leverage, particularly with europeans, particularly with the germans. >> host: i was struck by your argument that russia in the long-term is weak, but perhaps in the short term of the next decade or so make him once again to play a very significant role in terms of obstructing u.s. goals in these dealings with your. what you mean by that? >> guest: power is relative. within the former soviet union russia is stronger, relatively speaking. europe is i won't say disarmed, but certainly militarily weak and economically strong but has a very heavy dependency on natural gas. there are ways the europeans can move beyond that independency. but over the next 10 years they're going to require russian resources. the germans have also reached a point within the european union that they're asking basic questions about what is the use of this?
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they have demographic problems. they need workers. they don't want to let any more turkish workers coming in. that's a problem for them. so and you can have the workers come to your factories, you take your factories to the workers. russia still has surplus labor. much of the russian economy is unemployed or underemployed. they welcome russian technology. what i think happened here is russia and germany have increasingly intense economic relationships. they cooperate with certain political reasons and neither of them are particularly happy with a world run by the united states. it creates a weight. germany has not yet moved to this point. germany is still sorting through the wreckage of the e.u. and trying to figure out which way it's going to go. i suspect that it has stronger interest with russia at the
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moment. in the long run, there was a reason the soviet union collapsed. that reason hasn't gone away. so if i look at longer, i see those reasons there. i see another weakness. but in the short run, in the state of the e.u., given the state of russia relative to the e.u., given the relation of the former soviet union, given the massive preoccupation of the united states with at least as opposed to europe, this is an opportunity for russia to try to stabilize itself and it has done fairly well. >> host: let's talk about the middle east. what does the middle east tell us about the forecasting and the dangers of accepting what we think is the conventional wisdom today? >> guest: first we have to define the middle east which is very vague. when i speak about the area that united states is engaged in, i think about the mediterranean.
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from israel. this is very different from north africa. >> host: the greater middle east you're talking about here ethnic some people include some islamic country. some people use it for arabs. it's a british term for the british foreign office, a great deal of use. i'm interested in the area where the united states is waging war, which is iraq, afghanistan, pakistan possibly iran. these are the battle spots for the united states. there are three balances of power in that region. the arab-israeli, the iraqi and the pakistani. each one of them have deed stabilize -- have destabilized over the last 10 years. israel is so dominant that it creates new realities on the ground. there's a difference to what the united states release is very often. in afghanistan, the united
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states is asking pakistan to do things that creates instability, that will weaken pakistan, that potentially creates an independent regional power in india that the united states may not appreciate in the long run. and, of course, the invasion of iraq has destroyed the iran-iraq balance apparently what is the most immediate issue which is forgetting nuclear weapons, iran is the dominant conventional military force in the region if the united states isn't there. the united states has its policy to withdraw from iraq, potential for iran to attack is extremely high. that in turn changes the balance of power, or at least the political dynamic in the arabian peninsula. they are vitally important decisions to be made, so if the one hand the united states must rebalance its global policy to deal with issues like russia, to deal with china and so one. at the same time, the united
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states can't sit through withdrawal. it doesn't have the ability to simply exit and doesn't have an endgame in these areas. so we have a very powerful nation, much less powerful and mighty under other circumstances because it is so off-balance and so over committed to one regent. >> host: that's where i was really surprised in a way to look at where you're taking the consequences of that analysis. let's take those three, you mentioned in the, pakistan, iraq-iran come and israel and palestine. in all three cases i think you have gone out and looked at some ways in which we might end up a decade in place very different than the one we are now, whether it's your thought of really almost what i'll call a strategic distancing from israel, not a rejection of israel, but he did prioritize them of our mediation efforts in israel-palestine conflict.
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india-pakistan i think that's where i was most surprised to read your book. right now there's a lot of talk in washington in particular about the strategic prospects of a potentially invigorated new alignment with india. of course, president obama just made a trip there last fall. this falsehood actually bush's foreign policy's foreign policy emphasis on building a new substantively different kind of relationship with india. and really, after the appointment of a long-term you a strategic partnership with pakistan, this is not a new recommendation. we've had a partnership with pakistan. it seems to fail in some key respects, so i want to get back to that. and then, of course, your third area that you look at which is iran, iraq, the destabilization caused by the u.s. invasion of iraq, and your recommendation that ultimately we will have to find a sort of nixon and china moment here where no matter how unpalatable it may seem we have
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come to some kind of different kind of accommodation, or even perhaps a new kind of alliance with iran. so let's hit israel and palestine first. >> guest: we are committed to the survival of the region. the survival of is she real is not an issue. if iran were to develop nuclear weapons, which israelis now say is 35 years out, that's another issue. but under the current circumstances the issue here is not survival of israel. in 1973-74, and at the time we gave $3 billion in aid which was 25% of its gdp which today is one and a half% of its gdp. the relationship itself has changed. the foundation of the relationship guarantee israel's right to exist is not the issue. the level of a that we provide is not critical. it's not so much that i want to change the relationship. the relationship has changed. the question now is we had one
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set of relations prior to 1967 where we get little 82 israel. in the second period, caught 67 to recently where the states and israel had a unique partnership. i'm not advocating changing the partnership. i'm wondering what are we partnering on? israel's view is that it must create a reality on the ground in which settlements come institutions and so on that control the palestinians can be put in place. in that context some sort of negotiation is possible. the united states has an interest in stability in the region, not necessary in the israeli solution to that. the idea that the united states was simply track whichever israeli government comes into power raises the question of what is the benefit for the united states. there's intelligence sharing with israel. that will continue because israel needs it.
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the point of redefining relationships is not somebody at a think tank publishes a paper said here's a wonderful idea. and that apply to the other regions as well. it is a recognition that the relationship has changed, that the terms of endearment if you will are still there but not what they were before. and adjusting the policies satisfactorily. particularly at a time when the united states is so bogged down elsewhere hosted what are the tools and a toolkit for making those kinds of adjustments? i think it's an important one. >> guest: the first thing is recognizing the relationship has changed already. that it's not your toolkit that changed it. the only thing your toolkit can do is adjust your policy to the reality that you're facing at this moment or potentially facing in the future. >> host: that's what is so striking. that barack obama coming into office speaking in a different manner about the challenges in
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the middle east, certainly than president bush had before him. i think what's interesting to observe over the last couple of years is in the end obama up until now has not managed a major shift. >> guest: that's what is crucial which his speech is very nice and policy favors are nice. and has nothing to do with making fair -- making foreign affairs. >> host: they don't translate per se into policy shifts or the rebalancing of this sort of -- >> guest: was is why i am not interested in foreign policy. obama is a perfect example. a person who genuinely wanted a different foreign policy and was unable to do it. is equally interesting to look at george w. bush and raise the question, to what extent did he really have the options that we would like to do. we would like to be our presence with matching powers, that they make decisions in a vacuum and create policies, and people who speak to the president are semi-magical and so on and so
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forth. i live in austin, texas, to avoid the demagogues of washington. it's extremely important to understand how little choice obama had. the relationship that george w. bush had with chancellor merkel was not based on the fact that george w. bush was at last there came a been. is based on the fact that germany as a nation has interests. they do not fully coincide any longer with those of the united states. it's impossible to pretend where in the cold war, and if you take that present out of a different present in, he's going to wind up with the same relationship and it's not a personal relationship. it's not that they get along or they don't get along or they like each other. germany is a nation of many millions of people. the united states, similar
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nation. the president is the end product of that, that at times can lead but he leaves that's what is going to the place where we are going anyway. and obama is perhaps -- >> host: are certainly the limits of rhetoric. there's no question about that. >> guest: he turns rhetoric into many, many volumes of position papers and policy papers. is a central assumption i think at the beginning was that u.s. german relations could have been whether were 20 years ago, had it not been for the unilateralism of george w. bush. the difference in perception was like this. obama's position was i will be a much more pleasant person, and, therefore, the germans will do much more to help me. the german position was thank god we find have a president who will not ask us to do things we don't want to do. they had this tremendous love
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affair, the nobel peace prize and everything else and suddenly you realize my goodness barack obama is an american president. and angela merkel is the german chancellor. >> host: i think you're right about that but it would like to go back to one of your earlier point which is, what does it mean for the united states to grow into accepting its role as a sort of global empire, if you will? certainly in a power sense, an empire. and you make the case that empire requires a much more sophisticated foreign policy in which you operate through regional alliances and even sort of networks of much more sophisticated ways of looking at what's happening around world took office american interest rather insipid assure exercise of force or hard power. you could argue that in some way that was a barack obama set up to do in the world. his abrasive multilateralism was in that you almost certainly an effort to rebalance the world,
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with a simple projection of american force is -- >> guest: there in is the rebalancing of the world. the vision of the present as an engineer. prior to that that has to be little sophistication of understanding the impersonal forces. what are the national interest? one of the things that others cannot agree to, what are the things they must have? it is essential that foreign policy be built on the concepts of constraint. one's own constraints, understand what it is you cannot give up, what you must have, understanding other people. so the idea that building alliances takes place in a vacuum that you simply reach out and -- is the problem. the problem is that within the confines of the reality of foreign policy it is possible to manage, it is not possible to
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abolish the. so when the british dominated india they reengineered it in a way, but by taking advantage of the tensions and the balance of power within that area. they didn't simply land troops and try to take it over. similarly, the united states had the option in the middle east to manage the existing relationships, but the first thing you must understand what are the existing relationships, what are the needs, what are the requirements. and i think one of the things that obama had to learn, see if he is learned, is a goodwill. before you go out you have to understand the limits, the constraints and that's what makes forecasting impossible. i certainly can't predict what humor barack obama will make in the morning, what initiative he will undertake. i can talk about what will fail because the other side can't
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possibly agree to it. and i can understand those things that tie nations together. so whether putin is there or putin is not, russia is an exporter of natural gas. >> host: the flipside is let's look at the two events you talk about that has shaped the last ecades of geopolitics, neither of which were very predictable and certainly were predicted by the vast majority of the analyst and expert, the break up of the soviet union in 1991 and the attacks that you could is that al qaeda represented an actual threat to carry out dramatic attacks to u.s. homeland. they don't already in 1993. you would've been really, really out there on a limb, and i'm not sure anyone was predicting that would be a shaping force of international affairs in the first decade of the 20% to. the same thing for the breakup of the soviet union. there were those who actually
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diagnosed its internal rot, just as there are those today who have been diagnosing the internal rot across the regimes of the arab world, for example,. >> guest: which is why it's here to forecast 100 years. >> host: we've been waiting for the collapse of the castro regime in cuba for quite some time. >> guest: it is impossible to admit, to imagine that the british would be defeated by the american insurgents. when we look back on british history in the 19th and 21st century it was not a critical event. over the long run certain things that are of enormous importance to both wars, shrink to insignificance. when we look back on the vietnam war which was such an enormous event in american history, look back, you know, context even today, it has a lesser significance in terms of what will happen. you began the conversation by saying i've gone from a more
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ambitious to a less ambitious -- >> host: that would be harder, a 10 year prediction? >> guest: easier to look forward in 100 years, blanking out the unexpected things and look at the main thrust. you may be wrong but that's possible. at the beginning of the 20th century, i had written a book, i wish i had written about the collapse of the british empire. the rise of mass warfare, things of that sort. without getting into specifics, lenin, wrote about all those things. what i tried to do is i said okay, what matters in the next 100 years? what is now the driving force, the graphics, political and so on your i wanted to go back into a 10 year framework because there is a point at which this has to play out. it has to begin playing out.
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this is a point where policy and history need each other. not in the kind of neat way of policymakers, but in a more complex way of policy encountering an emerging reality. and that's really what i wanted to do with this book. i wanted to see the hard part where i take a look at the 9/11 and i said so, what does this decade mean? and and making the argument that in the in this was not a pivotal war. i chose from the standpoint of british politics, that war was an enormously -- so was the work 1898. in retrospect, it was a fairly passing thing. when i look at what happened at 9/11 i would put it this way. when the soviet union collapsed, a dividing line of the islamic world shattered.
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and a region from yugoslavia was thrown off balance. a massive earthquake took place. the first earthquake was the yugoslavia. which was regarded as kind of a one of the time. it had nothing to do with it but it was a precursor to a massive destabilization. the united states with a moderate force, 154,320,000,000 person country is not a mass commitment went in and probably the situation less ideal than it would've been otherwise otherwise. nevertheless, the question is what is the lasting effect on this? you could say it a number of ways. the goal was to trigger a series of uprisings to great jihadists states, complete failure. the american goal if i understand reckless to create a series of pro-american regimes,
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preferably with governments like wisconsin governing in his region. iraq was the case. that didn't happen. what is remarkable to me about the region is out and changed it is. >> host: i think that's where over the next decade we are going to see in this really just sort of very, very long in game of the winning the clients, the soviets versus the u.s. there. you don't have a sense yet of what is going to replace that, certain across the broader middle east. are we seeing, in other words, not the beginning of the next stage with a very, very long endgame of the last stage. >> guest: the question becomes what we want from india. >> host: it's funny you brought that up. that's exactly going to go next. i really have to say why are you down on the idea of the u.s. indian alliance when you look at the context of china's rise and the strategic nature of the
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indian ocean, and the genuine repeated failures of the u.s. policy of supporting pakistan. >> guest: what is our goal? certainly we'll have a a long-term relationship with india. relations with foreign countries is always enhanced writing letters against them in addition to positive things for them. the balance of power means that you do not make a unilaterally unconditional commitment to any country. you understand we have defined interests in common and is always essential. and we have other options. the relationship with the power that is unconditional goes against the principle of a prudent foreign policy. how do you condition our relationship with libya? given the geography is very hard. china appears to be next-door
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but it isn't. it's very far away. the american relationship with pakistan is the only lever that is available. they want a subcontinent under the domination of a single power regardless of what it is. i think it's more in the interest of the united states to have a relationship with a country that has an element of security in it. so when you talk about a sophisticated foreign policy, it doesn't simply mean people, diplomats speak the language. it's nice. it means understanding that a relationship with a foreign country is extraordinary complex. it is not a monochromatic. they are our friends that they are our enemies. they consist of conflicting interests. and we look at any country i asked two questions. how could it benefit the united states? how can it be made clear that there are alternatives so that dependency doesn't exist? so the issue here is not
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actually have a close relationship with india. we will have the close relationship with india because we share common interest, economic, political and military. the question is how do we shape that relationship. and i think one of the problems the united states has is a thing, in terms of friends and enemies. this is a friend and if i don't have a finale to be generous. they give it more in a business relationship. i had a business relationship with this person. i may or may not be his friend. that has nothing to do with it. and i want to make sure of my options. and i think it to be more healthy if we're to place the framework of u.s. relations with countries that depersonalize it. >> host: that's what been going on with pakistan is that we have, in fact, made our dependency so clear with them, and actually they have a sense that our strategic calculation in the region is what you just outlined, that we preferred to
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have a friendly relationship with india. >> guest: weakens a fine, that's possible. >> host: the point is we have tried this approach, the strategic approach and the way you're suggestinsuggesting and it hasn't worked out very well. >> guest: if you take a look at the time were talking about, our relations since 1948, i met to accountable with the way it's evolves, shortly our invasion of afghanistan has created a problem for pakistan that threatens its internal stability. when you speak to many pakistanis, in the back in the 1990s. as a period where they were doing what the americans wanted. it was a period of relative stability. we may not like the government but that's not our country. we come back and say yes, that al qaeda develop and afghanistan we did with it. and they came back and suggested it. and that is unfortunate but al qaeda could have developed anywhere else.
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al qaeda is not an afghan movement. it had a leader. the point that we ask now is how do we deal with this. the united states has a temporary presence in afghanistan what it is one year, five years, we are not going to be there. pakistan is a permanent interest in afghanistan. it doesn't want to have a hostile afghanistan. therefore, what it wants to or not has to take responsibility for afghanistan. the american goal is that al qaeda should not be in afghanistan. al qaeda is in yemen, somalia and cleveland. >> host: exactly right. if you look at south asia, do you disagree with those who consider pakistan and the pakistan-afghanistan to be the most unstable part of the world? >> guest: i would not quote them the most dangerous and unstable part of the world.
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i think iran is potentially more. it's not worth having -- the question is how do you give it back into shape? destabilizing pakistan to the point that it collapses i don't think would create security, making it the responsibly of pakistan, which make it, it is. it is a more interesting outcome. but the problem is that we have less more fundamental questions, why are we in afghanistan? what was the strategy that president obama had in mind? president bush's strategy was a more modest one of holding key areas and not really trying to dominate the country your president obama argued we are in the wrong war. we are now in this war. it's not clear that we have the forces necessary to bring this to a conclusion. we are stuck with a pakistan because i fear we withdraw in which case pakistan moves in, or
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we entice pakistan in various ways into collaborating a withdrawal. so this comes to the point that it really doesn't matter if what happened in the past, if our goal is to somehow exit afghanistan without attempting to occupy it which is not a choice. we must deal with pakistan. i mean, who else can we? >> host: the question is not deal with pakistan so much as what is a longer-term outcome in terms of are they going to come away from wherever we end up with a new status quo in afghanistan. we committed to the camping of undermining their neighbor next-door in india. >> guest: that's exactly where they will come so we have no choice. we can't avoid that by staying in afghanistan permanently. or live with it. so here's exactly how i approach to foreign policy issue. you pose the question, if
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pakistan comes to be secure in afghanistan, will it stabilize india? it may well. shall we therefore superbly in afghanistan? how do we prevent that? what i can to and say yes, pakistan and india have reasons to distrust each other. i don't think they're going to go away. i think at various points in their history they will tend to undermine a. how can the united states benefit from that? how can you create a stable balance in which american issues are secure? so those who say look, pakistan cannot be trusted, i ask the question, what's your plan? and the problem is that we have, nato has almost one in 50,000 troops fighting in afghanistan. i regard that as an untenable position. i see no solution except with the context of a pakistani relationship.
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therefore, i regard, can we trust are not trust pakistan? i don't know what to do with it. because i see our country has decisions. and i think this is not a realist or an idealist position. this is simply the way we play the cards. can we do this and get pakistan to stop undermining india and india to stop undermining pakistan? know, that we don't know how to do. and won a bronze if we make make a foreign policy, -- idols of the want to get -- >> host: the consequences of failure are much, much higher. >> guest: and julie herself in afghanistan. at the moment i much more interested in having to 2,050,000 troops out. i do think it's a national interest national interest of the united states applet type of government there is in kabul. i want to see deny safe more
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balance, able to respond to russian advances in georgia. i want to balance foreign policy. my question is how do i rebalance it. >> host: one thing we haven't talked about at all so far is china. and, of course, we have a conversation about india and pakistan, the big piece of that that we haven't talked about at all is china. you are of the view that some of the current almost hysteria about the rise of china and what it will mean for the long-term consequences to american power has been widely overstated in the u.s. tell me why you think that. >> guest: to begin with using chinese statistics 1.3 billion people in china. 600 million of them live in households earning less than $3 a day. 440 million live in households earning between three and $6 a day. in other words, china over 80%
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of it lives in poverty in sub-saharan. there's a china that we all see has about 60 million people. they have average income of $20,000 a year am a little us. which is the size of france. it's not a trivial number but it's less than 5% of china. that china cannot sell to china. they're constantly trying to find ways to do. you can't sell an ipad to a person who earns $3 a day. they are the hostage of the west. the gun pointed at the head of china is the rise of the american savings rate because every dollar not spent at wal-mart is taken out of the chinese side. the chinese are desperate at times to stabilize the system by increasing exports. the current profit margin is 1.7% of chinese exports which i think is high.
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>> host: even the chinese official will tell you not necessarily to believe the statistics. >> guest: which means they are exporting at almost costs in order to prevent the thing they're most afraid of, and unemployment. they can't keep up because at this point the chinese trade rates are higher than those of mexico. if you take a look at shirts, you'll find mexico and philippines on a. not time. china has lost a competitive advantage. like japan in 1990, we saw them by rockefeller center. >> host: you are very bullish on japan. >> guest: it is cyclical. japan has come to a 20 year period in which it achieved its economic goals. it had a choice between having a crunching recession, unemployment, violating social contracts that underlies
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japanese society which is you get a job the attic of becoming a stay at that company. they may be strategic decision. the decision was to have low interest rates to keep businesses going and avoid unemployment. from the standpoint of the western investors this was the lost decade because we couldn't invest in japan and make any money. and the japanese look at them and said she, we had realize the purpose of japan was to give you opportunity make money. they achieve what they wanted and this is what the important things we talked about sophistication. understand what the japanese were afraid of, unemployment. they could understand the policy was a stupid. it made perfect sense. they are now reaching the end of the cycle. their debt level has reached the point that it is probably unsustainable. they're going to make some fundamental changes to policy. and i think that will unleash growth and socialism. but that being said, they have one advantage that china doesn't. they don't have 1 billion people
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living in third world poverty. china does. and the chinese are bitterly aware of that, which is why they are increasing security crackdowns everywhere, having crises and secession which we just saw. and also investing anywhere in the world outside of china. i had a joke, when japan came in, the japanese are doing so well, why are they buying pebble beach? if the chinese are doing so spectacular, why are they making massive investments outside of china? into previous asian crises, the japanese in 1997 to east asia crisis, the precursor event was capital flight. money moving out of those markets and investing overseas their we are now in the middle of chinese capital flight which the media is interpreting as the growing power of china. but the simple point is that
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they're making rational investment decisions based on their fear of the future of the chinese economy on between all these various forces. >> host: is it your sense that the projections of continued chinese economic growth are overstated? do you not believe that china can pass in the u.s. as the worst largest economy sometimes in the next decade or so? >> guest: combating at 10 or 12% is very difficult to believe. remembered that china came from a position of them mao zedong with the economy was in complete shambles. the first two decades of growth was simply reconstruction. an economy with a fine workforce and resources anything else. the last decade was brilliant economic planning. but in the same way that you can't invest on the subject that you always have the same compounding rates, the chinese have to make readjustments in the growth rates, and they are
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doing it and they are doing it very carefully. this is why you have to reevaluate the yuan. china is not between collapse in greatness. like japan it was a very sour situation, there is a readjustment of the normal. japan went from a high growth economy, massively exporting and so on, to a different structural kind. driven by financial problems. nonperforming loans in particular. china is in that situation as well. i get into the question of debt driven versus -- but the point is it is not an insult to china to say you had a magnificent 30 years. the next 30 will not be exact the same. >> host: the rate of growth is going to go under the double digits that it's been at for
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survey the last decade or so. that would still leave china on course to become the world economy giant. >> guest: 8% growth is quicker i don't think it's at 8% growth right now and it's possible for an economy to grow at any rate if it's indifferent to rates of return of capital. that's what the chinese are right now. if i had a company and i'm selling my product at low cost, i can have fantastic rates just before i go bankrupt. that's what happened with the japanese. it huge rates of growth and 88, 89, 90. but low rates of capital because the bankers want to shut them down. the chinese have that situation. this is why margins on exports is so important. they have a fantastic rate of growth that's not necessarily healthy. >> host: they have an important factor which is a democrat the crisis, not because
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of the sheer scale of the people who live in really difficult third world conditions and poverty, but also because of their one child policy, and you're looking at the disappearance of this enormous youth generation to power growth in the long term. >> guest: as much as that is between the third world peace and the rest, as china becomes a more sophisticated economy producing more sophisticated products, the level of education, expertise required to join that, blocks out the third world peace and it can't rise. the real question in china is the same question mousy dung confirmed. he tended the rise in shanghai as failing, and he raised an army of peasants. the peasants were better. they came back over 20 years and
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restructure china. the chinese government is painfully aware of how they began. which is why they are brutally crushing any organization outside the party. they are not allowing anything to rise. if the chinese entered a period of economic dysfunction, which i think they are, then the question that is economic. the question is social. what happens there. and i think the chinese are aware of that, and that's a several members of the pla, they will be in senior positions now. the chinese are aware of that. they are trying to whether it. they may well, but for now the chinese are very inward, very concerned with how to manage the current problem. and if you they're confident they can manage it. perhaps they can but it's not going to be easy host backs up basically what you would say is that here in the west, both the economic and as an overall tenor has missed the underlying
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potential of pollutants really in china but it's not front and center if you look at not just american but europeans analysis of china today, it's all about jealousy at the astonishing growth figures. it's really not been about the risk of political instability. >> guest: there's an interesting social phenomena in the west. in 1983-94, japan had already slowed down. there was still people writing articles on the japanese. it's about a three to four year lag between economic reality in asia and the recognition by the west. this whole theory is about half my why but it doesn't matter. we're now in a position where china has already stopped behaving the way it did a year ago. it's going to take several years before it's noticed. so there is a process that enthusiasm for the chinese
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economy grows. it's no longer universal. there are a number of economists who are writing about the coming bubble in china. but businesses also have a very delayed response, because china has become too expensive. they're not particularly send mail and they don't really write position papers. they are sadly changing the source. this is a child. vietnam was a real challenge to china. so was the philippines, pakistan, so are other countries. but the point i'm making is it is natural and normal for country after 30 years of eventual growth, to slow down dramatically. it is doing that. the consequences -- the economy could handle this if it didn't have a billion poor people. they could handle it but china has a prominent.
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>> host: just to pull back a second into the big picture. we're almost out of time here. many analysts look at the 21st century, talk about this as sort of the pacific decade, the asian decade to come, or even century to come, the waning of europe as seems. i don't really see that in your work. you seem to be much more in a way reminding us of the relative to american strategic thinking. >> guest: what i'm saying is it is going to be the american decade and the american century. look, the collapse of european imperial system including the class of the soviet union, left the united states standing as a continental power with very deep resources in command of the world sees, with a quarter of the economy, with basis and 27 countries and so on. there is nothing even close. we talk about the brick country.
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the bric countries have to grow altogether by 75% so all for equal the united states. >> host: continues in a is the united states so going to be spending 50% of the world's military spending? >> guest: yes. i think so. but here's the point. the united states will go through extreme troubles of instability. it will be costly remain and self it's the verge of collapse. and it will not collapse. it's very much like britain enrolled. look at the roman's speeches in the senate. just before the empire burst out, you see after predictions of catastrophe. that happened. >> host: okay. tenure so now we will come back. will have a conversation. we will see how it worked out. >> guest: it will be a different area the world with the same conversation. >> host: thank you so much. >> guest: i enjoyed it.
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>> that was "after words," booktv the signature program in which authors of books are interviewed by journalists, public policy makers, legislators and others familiar with the material. "after words" airs every weekend on booktv at 10 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. on sunday and 12 a.m. on monday. you can also watch a "after words" online. go to booktv.org and click on "after words" in the booktv series of topics list in the upper right hand side of the page. >> we're here talking with the james robbins about his latest book, "this time we win." tell us about it. >> it's the book about the vietnam war which was an outstanding victory for u.s. forces, but it was reported as a defeat at his can of gone down in history as a defeat. the purpose of the book is to try to clear that up. >> how do you go about that? >> going back to original docket and declassify things, talking to people who were involved in

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